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The town of Calistoga is about to get its own chorus.

The Calistoga Art Center welcomes the enthusiasm and vibrancy of local music enthusiasts Jennifer Yoo and Annie Orr, who are about to launch a new community chorus.

No prior knowledge of music is necessary, Orr emphasized. “There will be music to take home for practice, we will have short music theory lessons for those who need it and section leaders to help out,” she said.

The purpose of the chorus is “To provide the community with a group in which to explore and partake in the joy of music and singing, and to explore other cultures through song.”

All are welcome to join. The first practice is Sunday, Sept. 8, from 1:30-3:45 p.m. at the Calistoga Art Center, 1435 N. Oak St. Rehearsals will continue each Sunday during that time, with a concert scheduled for Dec. 15. Cost is $10 a month, which goes towards music purchase and practice space. For more information go to www.calistogaartcenter.org or call 942-2278.

Both Yoo and Orr live in town and met through a mutual love of music on Facebook.

“Music has always been a huge part of my life. I started playing piano in second grade and fell in love. I feel that we become one unit when I am on the piano bench and have spent many joyous and trying times there setting a lot of my poetry to music,” Yoo said.

After taking music courses in college as an undergrad, Yoo spent time in Vienna and went on to study music composition, history and theory at Westminster Choir College in New Jersey.

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Recently, she was honored to have a couple of her compositions premiered at Walden school.

“That has really sparked my desire to write music and possibly to perform again as well,” she said, adding she is a bit of an introvert. “Singing in a choir has always been a big part of my life. I love the vulnerability it takes from each member of the group in order to create this masterpiece that we make together.”

Orr has always loved music and began singing at a very young age.

“My mother likes to joke I began my singing career when I was only 2 months old because my brother held me on stage for my hometown’s very first Christmas Caroling concert. I sang with that group until the director retired and the group was disbanded 19 years later,” she said.

Orr began violin lessons in 2003. After falling in love with the instrument, she decided to pursue a future in music.

She studied violin and voice at the Santa Rosa Junior College where “I was given many leadership opportunities and discovered my love for teaching. I realized nothing made me happier than sharing the joy and passion I have for music with others, so I decided to pursue a career in teaching.”

Orr graduated from the Santa Rosa Junior College in 2017 with an associate degree in violin and vocal performance. She transferred to Sonoma State University in the fall of 2017 and graduated with a bachelor of music in choral education this spring.

“I hope that the Calistoga Chorus can provide a sanctuary for us where we can feel safe enough to be vulnerable to each other and in turn to create a beautiful and harmonious family that enjoys and freely shares this gift called music,” Yoo said.

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.